The BnB: The two things I feared most?

BnB KaRi Smiling2

have happened:

The first?  I’m beginning to enjoy Katie and Ridge (KaRi).   There are seven kinds of wrong in this storyline, with another seven just waiting  in the wings to unleash fresh hell and I don’t care.  I guess it helps that “Ridge” feels like a different character – with Ronn Moss vacating the role and Thorsten Kaye taking over.  It probably also helps that  TK’s Ridge is so distant and disconnected from Brooke, that they may as well be strangers.

The KaRi shared moments are just as powerful as anything we’ve seen from any other couple.  In the case of Brooke and Bill , where lust and love are the same, KaRi’s moments are even more powerful!   Ridge in the park with Katie, as their sons (who are cousins) played together like siblings gave me warm fuzzies.  While going toe-to-toe, Ridge teases Katie that if she played soccer in high school then the only thing she played was the bench, because she was lousy at it.  Cute! Katie is smiling, and is genuinely happy — something we, the audience, haven’t seen since before Bill became obsessed with Steffy and put his wife through hell in pursuit of her. I’m officially a puddle of emotion!  Between Katie and Ridge and Hope and Wyatt, old school romance is making a comeback and it is the sexiest thing happening on this show in years!!

I am actually happy for Katie. She suffered so much being the only emotionally mature adult in her marriage.  I was exhausted listening to Katie explain the basic rules of civility and adulthood to her childlike husband.  For damned sure, as much as I knew I didn’t want Katie with Bill ever again, I was certain that I didn’t want Katie and Ridge together, either, until recently.   I’m now tuning in, in part, to see what comes next for KaRi.  I’m actually excited to wait for the small things, like KaRi brushing hands for the first time!  Every first time for them will be special, I hope.

The day-one Brooke and Ridge fan in me mourns the loss of the magic the couple once shared.  The newly formed KaRi fan is ready to move on, and can leave the past behind with no regrets (other than still missing Ronn Moss – how delicious it would have been to have RM and TK on screen together as Logan husbands).

Hope Walking AwayThe second “OH NO” moment?  I actually felt sorry for Liam, today.  Sorry enough to want him with Hope?  No,  but there was an ounce of sympathy for him (an ounce more than I realized I had).   I do wish soap characters were allowed to have more insight into the hell they put others through and how it eventually boomerangs back to them.  Poor Hope had been in Liam’s shoes so many times before.  She couldn’t understand how he could feel such a closeness with Steffy after everything she’d done to him, to them.

Wouldn’t it have been nice for Liam to realize how awful it was that he dismissed Hope’s fears and pain in the past?  Hope would tell him she’s hurting, he would tell her to get over it, it was all in her head.  If his cheap relationship with Steffy were the only issue, he might have had a chance, but Steffy was preceded by the faux pregnancy and continued sexual relationship with Amber,  add it together and you get the point.  All of his arrogance and mistreatment of Hope was now costing him his chance at happiness.  Not to be a vengeful viewer, but hey, I”m the type of woman who needs to hear him say it out loud and TO Hope: He threw Hope away and thought she would always be there to take him back.  He was wrong.

The  only moment approximating self-realization was Liam’s pure fear response when Caroline told him that Hope would forgive Wyatt, because he adored her and only her. The implication was that it was something Liam failed to do.  D’OH!  Scott Clifton was masterful in that moment.  Sadly, even then Liam was dismissive of Hope’s need to be loved, her desire to be cared for by a man who loved her with the same passion she’d shown him.  He couldn’t believe it was possible that Hope’s feelings for Wyatt were as deep as her feelings for him had once been.  She’d forgiven Liam a thousand times, but how could she forgive Wyatt even once?

The speculative future of the BnB

Do you think that Katie and Hope should get together and celebrate being free of the Spencer men who repeatedly devastated them because they preferred women who allowed them to be the arrogant jerks they were born to be?  I want to see both celebrating their new lives.

At this point, Bill and Liam are paying for their sexual and emotional betrayals so what’s next for them?  Bill?  Torn between Katie and Brooke?  I doubt Bill will want anyone else playing with his toys – especially Ridge.  The quadrangle is ON!  I will be sad for Brooke if she ends up with Bill, but as long as it leaves KaRi free to be together, I can fast forward Brooke and Bill and not mind adding minutes back to the clock each day!

I see one of three things coming for Himself, Liam Spencer:

BnB Quinn and Wyatt

— Liam moves on with Ali, eventually impregnates her (because it’s what he does as Bill’s clone) and Hope and Wyatt move on peacefully. Unless Ali is soon shedding her “Mary Sunshine” persona, I just don’t see this one happening.

— Quinn hires someone to hurt Liam or set him up for something he hasn’t done, and it gains him the sympathy vote from Hope and puts him back in play in Hope and Wyatt’s relationship.  Boooo! Hiss!  Will Quinn become Wyatt’s undoing?  Wyatt is genuine in his desire to be with Hope the right way.  Quinn has become as fixated on undoing Liam as she is on loving Wyatt.  That’s never good.

— The option that I think is most likely, given the fact that this is the BnB?  Quinn and Liam’s passionate disgust for one another is not completely wasted, it is transformed. Dropping the disgust,  the two begin a torrid affair, one that horrifies Wyatt and Hope, leaves Bill speechless but uncaring since he’ll be chasing Brooke and Katie-  and this pairing becomes one of daytime’s weirdest / hottest relationships. Quiam?  Linn?

Yeah.

** KaRi /Hott fans?  Soap, Primetime, Reality TV fans?  Join me HERE to talk more about your fave couple, soap, or other shows!  Lay claim to this new board!

We are family… I got all my sisters with me…

only, in daytime, if you have all of your sisters with you it could get pretty crowded since daytime males procreate at the same rate that the national debt grows.  It could also get crowded if you had to accommodate your sister’s dual relationship to you:  sister-stepmother, sister-cousin, sister – biological mother, sister – aunt, sister -husband’s ex-wife, sister – father’s ex-wife.  OY!  In spite of twisted, tangled and mangled family trees, and mixed up family relationships, there  has been quite a dramatic change in the focus of daytime writers across the board.  Writers are now telling the story of families, not just individual characters. The Bold and the Beautiful, General Hospital, Days of Our Lives, and One Life to Live have been leading the way.  All I can say is ‘more please’.

General Hospital

Soapgod bless Lulu Spencer.  First she rips  Liz a new one to defend Lucky,  and then rips into Sonny for shooting Dominic/Dante in the same ONE WEEK time frame!  What the hell?  Don’t you people know Christmas is over?  Nevermind.  Keep writing the show like you’ve just seen your first snow of the season.  It’s working for you.

I’m even going to forgive you for being silly enough to think that having women call one another whores takes the sting out of the fact that you’re still writing those lines.  For now.  I get it… it’s not as bad as having the men do it?  Wrong, but we’ll save that for another time.  For the record, I remember Lulu’s flaws.  I remember that she’s made a mess of her own life, and Georgie’s in the past, but what sister – no matter her mistakes, wouldn’t be as angry at Liz and Nikolas as she was?  It’s only too bad that Lulu spared Nikolas as much as she has.

Lulu said pretty much what I wanted her to say to Elizabeth, however.  Saint Elizabeth, the preachy, has betrayed her fiance (the man who has loved her with his whole heart from the time they were teens) and the family they created -with the children he’s loved as his own.  For what?  A man who thinks she’s so dirty that he’ll sleep with her any where, any time, but won’t respect her or his own brother enough to wait for her to walk away freely and cleanly?  S-T-U-P-I-D.  Nikolas treats her like he paid for her (er, and not in that ‘off the corner’ kinda’ way… more in the ‘off the shelf – she’s nothing but a toy’ kinda’ way).

The only sympathy I’ve had for Liz is in hearing Carly try to convince Saint Jaysus that Jake now belongs with him.   Jaysus kills people whose loved ones come gunning for him – or gunning for those he loves.  Liz lies and sleeps around, and destroys the only real family the boys have known.  Yeah, that sucks, but with Liz the kids will stay alive. Are we to believe that Carly TRULY believes that Liz is an unfit mother or does misery just loves company?   The writers should explore whether or not Carly finally realizes that she would feel less guilty if other women were in her shoes, putting their children’s lives at risk by handing them over on a silver platter to the mob boys.  It’s the only thing that makes sense of her dialogue.

BRAVA/O to the writers for giving Kristina  enough intellect for herself and for big brother Michael – she is definitely her mother’s daughter.  The writers are overdoing it on the ‘brain injury’ excuse with the Jr. Suckprano.  Yes, Michael is impulsive and has an explosive anger, but STUPID!?!?  He thinks his father was justified in shooting  a police officer for investigating his illegal behavior?  Only Sonny’s children who’ve spent less time with him have seen the light?  They see their father for the criminal he is?  Why won’t the writers allow the rest of the town to open their eyes – Steven Webber who should have slapped Sonny when he threatened his life if Steven didn’t repair the gaping hole Sonny shot into Dom’s chest, or Olivia and Robin who agreed that it wouldn’t have happened had Olivia told him all along that Dominic was his — you know, because then he wouldn’t have shot Dom at close range and would only have tried to kill someone else’s child, not his own.

How about the sympathy everyone is feeling for Sonny?  If Dominic/Dante wakes up forgiving Sonny and hating his mother, or forgiving Sonny and forgiving his mother – as if she needs it, or forgiving Sonny and wanting his parents together, I’m officially DONE and no amount of SCRUBS love or Mac and Alexis will bring me back, folks.  I’ll become a strictly ‘read and shrug’ GHer.

The Bold and The Beautiful

I’m typically never happy when writers SORAS child characters.  It’s almost always for a pointless storyline that would have been better served with a new, adult, character in a separate role.  I’m still bummed about GL replacing the beloved Rachel Miner with Rebecca Budig’s “Michelle Bauer”.  Michelle was transformed from a sweet and adorable child to a teen who couldn’t wait to lose her virginity.  Michelle’s catchphrase became ‘make love to me <insert the name of the new male lead>”  I can’t say that the same is true for the BnB’s Hope Logan. The transition from child to teen character has been flawless.   The writers are milking this one for what it’s worth and working as many angles on it as they can.

Long term viewers will remember that when taylor returned from the dead… AGAIN… Thomas, Phoebe and Steffy were torn. They loved their stepmother, Brooke, and their younger siblings Hope and RJ.  While all three were saddened at losing their family, Thomas in particular vowed to remain a good big brother.  Ridge, devastated by his choice to give up his family  daydreamed of Hope and RJ calling out for their ‘daddy’ in the home they shared.  Hope, who is Ridge’s daughter by choice and love, though not by blood, has added an interesting dynamic.

Ridge is the only father Hope has ever known. Other than ONCE  (and only ONCE) calling ‘Uncle Nick’ daddy, that name has been almost exclusively reserved for Ridge.  Unfortunately for Hope, she’s also been calling Stephanie ‘Grandma’ since she was a toddler.  Hope has never known her biological father, Deacon Sharpe.   So what does it mean, for Hope, when her daddy is torn between his two daughters?  What does it mean when he doesn’t want to take sides, despite the fact that his daughter Steffy is clearly out of control?

The writers were initially all over the place with this storyline – as if they hadn’t made up their mind about which choices Ridge would make.  While Hope was still calling him ‘daddy’, he’d at one point  referred to her as ‘Brooke’s daughter’ – an awful betrayal of fans who’d watched Ridge embrace Hope as his child and even watched him fight for custody of her when he felt that she was at risk living in Brooke’s home.  We watched Ridge put his mother in her place when she tried to use his children with Brooke to destroy her.  He made sure Brooke could see the children as often as she liked.

Betrayal over (for now, anyway).  All that crap about Hope being Brooke’s daughter is gone.  We see Ridge fight for his girl, work hard to protect her, and remind the world that his family is off limits.  Any attack on them is an attack on him.  The scene of Brooke and Ridge each on cell phones calling all of Hope’s friends while looking for her painted the picture of a mother and father who knows their daughter well, and is close enough with her to know how to track her down if they need her.  I did choke a little when Brooke credited Nick for saving Hope (again).  Doesn’t she remember that Hope nearly died, TWICE thanks to Nick’s neglect?  Don’t worry, writers, we’ll remember for you.  You can’t give a man credit for saving the girl when she nearly drowned because he turned his back on her to fight with another man over Bridget.

Also, bonus points for allowing Steffy to semi- escape the poisoned well her mother created, pitting her at odds with the younger sister she’s always known and loved.  Steffy is  still a loser, having her loserdom encoded in her mitochondrial DNA no less, but she’s learning. I do think it’s odd that the soap fashion press would glom on to Hope’s history and her paternal DNA (despite the fact that it’s been no real secret since she was a child.  Ridge was going to take Deacon’s document signing away his paternity rights to court with him some years ago).

Teen Hope matters that much, but the soap fashion press ignores Steffy dating the man who was her uncle most of her life, after he dated her now  deceased sister and after he bedded her mother who was engaged to him?  Those Hayes women have no luck at all.  Nothing they do, no matter how salacious, gets them any attention.  The story of their lives.  Will steffy and taylor ever have scenes that show them bonding over something other than their obsession with the Logans?????

Days of Our Lives

In no particular order:

EJ sucks for continuing to let little Syd cry in agony, without her mother’s touch.  I can’t believe the writers are dragging this kidnapping (called the ‘Sydnapping’ storyline by fans)  go on for so long.  Each day makes EJ seem move inhuman.

Bo sucks for never being able to move on as a SINGLE man not just a separated man.  What is it about divorce ink that Bo is so deathly afraid of?  Would it really hurt the guy to not have a wife and a girlfriend at the same time?

Lucas always rocks – on screen, off screen, in Salem, far away… it sucks that the writers are taking him from us.

Maggie and Melanie rock and I’m almost saddened by the news that Carly is Mel’s mom.  I’d hate to see the writers push Maggie into the shadows to develop the Mel-Carly relationship.  The only thing I am enjoying about the story, rightnow, is how quickly Viv caught on to the fact that Carly had a secret child and that Viv is such a schemer.    I have to wonder if it’s not Vivian who has something to worry, not Melanie.  I think she may be expecting a kinder-gentler version of Carly in Melanie.  That would be a mistake.  BTW, is it me or is it just a little scary that Viv smiles so gleefully when she remember burying Carly and thinks of it as just reliving  ‘good times’?  Egads.

Daniel and Carly or Daniel and Chloe?   Chloe/Daniel/Carly?  If he ends up with Carly, she’d better watch out, I could see the writers having Daniel repeat the Kate-Chloe fiasco – of sorts and Daniel could end up with Melanie, next.  I can’t imagine which scenario Victor would hate worse.  On second thought?  Bring it on!

One Life to Live

Two words:  JUST WATCH.  There’s not one family angle OLTL doesn’t cover.

Couples in love.  Couples in lust.  Couples in trouble.

Brothers fighting over the same woman.  One of them turning to a woman who is surely bad news – just to ease his pain.

Sisters fighting over the same man. One sister lying about the paternity of her unborn child to hang on to that man.

Sisters united by the father they despise who wants to control them.

A long lost (of sorts) brother and sister united by the unstable, psychologically deranged father who wants to own them.

Husbands and wives separated by addiction.

This show is everything a soap was meant to be in the best soap tradition.  Even when OLTL walks up to the edge and risks going too far, it’s the one soap in daytime that knows how to talk itself back down.

It’s the show with something for everyone.

Nuke countdown… 5 4 3 2….

Comparing individuals who are part of minority groups is usually a bit paternalistic and as a person of color I try to avoid it whenever possible.  There are times, however, when  comparisons are useful to illustrate a point.  I remember watching Day of Our Lives, not long after learning about the cancellation of As The World Turns and watching Crystal Chappell at work in the reprised role of  ‘Carly Manning Alamain’.  I immediately started thinking about the reported deleted scene from the last episode of  The Guiding Light, one in which Olivia gave Natalia a kiss on the cheek as Rafe boarded the bus on his way to basic training, and to begin his new life.  It was  cut – for some unknown reason… uh huh…  As I thought about that deleted scene, I wondered if As The World Turns writers would follow The Guiding Light’s lead; specifically, are  As The World Turns writers running out the clock on Nuke?  Despite the numerous opportunities to make Otalia a full-fledged couple, like any other, Guiding Light writers waited until the last episodes to let fans know that the couple  would, off screen, make it while building their new family.  I suspect that Nuke is headed for the same fate.

Luke and Noah’s relationship started as a  groundbreaking event in daytime – U.S. soaps first openly gay male couple.  Unfortunately, there seems to have been more smoke for the couple on paper than anything that approximated fire onscreen.  Onscreen, short of an occasional kiss and the implication that  sex had occurred, it would have be pretty difficult for those who are sporadic viewers, or viewers flipping through channels,  to not mistake Luke and Noah for siblings (right down to the scary proposition that Lily and Damian ‘adopt’ Noah, making Luke his lover’s legal brother).  To think that Jerry Springer doesn’t even write for As the World Turns– at least not in his own name.

When I think about the difference between the way the One Life to Live writers approach the Kish (Kyle and Oliver Fish) relationship, I’m both in awe, and feel a bit of bitter disappointment about Nuke.  The problems with the Kish storyline have  nothing to do with character  sexuality.  The writers have potentially weakened the Kish dynamic by glossing over Kyle’s earlier blackmail of Natalie Buchanan and Jared Banks, and his willingness to torment a fragile Jessica Buchanan with the loss of yet another child.  They’ve glossed over his involvement with Stacy in deceiving Rex and Gigi regarding Shane’s treatment and recovery.  Of course, Stacy is still an evil bitch, and  Kyle has been redeemed as a misguided and desperate pawn.  The writers have glossed over the batshit crazy  Kyle’s sister brought to screen and dropped any possible exploration of whether or not he’d been covering his involvement with her all this time.  Right now it seems to be the case that he genuinely had nothing to do with her – but shouldn’t there be some lingering doubt?

It would have been quite an interesting dynamic to watch the above board, letter-of-the-law Oliver Fish reconcile his regard for law and his deep love for Kyle.  (Yet another common thread with As The World Turns.  I immediately began thinking of Carly Tenney and her “G Man” Jack Snyder.)   I’d love to see a more nuanced relationship in which we’re rooting for Oliver’s happiness and wanting Kyle to be the right man for him, but never knowing if he should or  would ever, be able to trust Kyle.  Is Kyle with Oliver because he loves him, or is he with Oliver to fool everyone into thinking that he’s turned over a new leaf?

The role that should have gone to Kyle is now being played out by seemingly devious Nick – who listens at doorways and seems to always be involved in some underhanded plot.  Oliver is still the good guy – trusting, hopeful, willing to believe in his love with Kyle and the bond he’s sure they share.  I’ve been ambivalent about the rush job on Kish, for the reasons mentioned above, and yet still find myself rooting for them and wanting to kick Nick’s backside right out the door.   If only there was some audience participation software that would have allowed me to give Roxy (and by extension One Life to Live writers) a high five when she observantly figured out that there’s something not quite right about Nick and that he could spell big trouble for Kish.  The writers rarely allow our girl to be that observant!

What I appreciate most about the Kish/Nick storyline is that it’s a formula  linked to a tried and true daytime staple.  We’ve seen it a million times before, the lover on the outside wants in.  An illness/injury/spat of amnesia leads the lover on the outside (Nick in this case)  to use the condition to keep the unsuspecting target  (Kyle) close. Only the target’s partner (Oliver) realizes what’s going on while the target repeatedly sides with the lover on the outside.  Sooner or later Kyle and Oliver will end up fighting over Oliver’s not-so-insane jealously over Nick and mistrust of Nick and Kyle together.  The distance between the young lovers will grow while Nick stands in the background smirking and plotting even further.  Just when it seems that our young lovers will work their way back to one another, Nick will probably figure out that Stacy is pregnant with Oliver’s child and break the couple up ‘for good’, picking up the pieces and moving on with Kyle for as long as they last.

The writers have very quietly and cleverly done in months what years of pseudo-activism on As The World Turns has failed to do with Nuke.  Carlivarti and crew have made it clear that Kish is just like everyone else, in all the ways that matter.   When it was evident that As The World Turns writers would create a teen pregnancy storyline with Liberty, I’d hoped that Luke and Noah, with a little magical same-character-SORASing, would step in as the child’s adoptive parents.  I wanted them to be a family, together, and to learn that it wasn’t as easy being in love as they’d thought, but fighting to remain committed to one another and growing stronger together.

Instead, it was one series of missteps after another for the couple.  Nuke has yet to be integrated into the cast in a way that makes us identify with them as people. The writers have only allowed us to identify with them based on their sexuality.  They are that – and so much more and it would be nice, before the show ends, for the writers to tell us who they are.  Pessimistically, I hear the ticking of the clock, and suspect that the writers are more interested in running the clock down as we approach 2010.  No family for Nuke, no lives related to their work  or other accomplishments, not even a  kiss on the cheek at the end, justa  good bye, and what a pity that would be.

Just Because… Guiding Light

Watching the clips below, it’s hard to imagine that former GL writers didn’t know what they had, and didn’t build on the history of one of the show’s longest running supercouples.  I don’t mind when new writers want to come in and put their own stamp on a show.   It often creates a ‘freshness’ that long running shows need.  I just hate when they do it at the expense of the audience and when “their own stamp” means ripping soul mate couples apart, reconstituting them as part of new ‘pseudo soul mate’ pairs and trashing the history of the show in the process.   Even still, while  I never thought I’d say this after Wheeler took over GL, but I miss the show.  Daytime still isn’t the same without The Guiding Light.

The Guiding Light died a ‘good death’.

I can’t believe that I’m going to say this, but The Guiding Light ended in the best way possible.  Everything made sense!  Alan Spaulding’s death was the  umbrella storyline that put everyone else’s “future”  in context.   I’m not sure that Alan’s death would have been acceptable or tolerable had the show continued on, but as the event that brought Springfield to its eternal end, it was brilliant.  Characters like Roger Thorpe and Alan Spaulding are provocative   characters whose actions have typically  impacted many, if not most, GL characters-  both directly and indirectly.  You never really think about how strong an impact their actions have on their onscreen counterparts until you’re forced to live without them.

When Michael Zaslow was unceremoniously removed from the role of Roger Thorpe, I spent a significant amount of time wondering how much differently various storylines would have played out had Roger been allowed to stay – or more to the point, Zas in the role.  I didn’t have to wonder the same about Alan.  The writers were able to show us what life in Springfield without him was like.   How wonderful that Alan’s final, and redeeming, act was to save the life of his beloved golden boy, Phillip.  How terribly fitting that Alan’s death meant that everyone else could be free, as well.

Lizzie could love Bill without worrying about her grandfather manipulating their relationship and living his life for the privilege of tearing them apart.

Phillip and Beth could be happy without having to make a choice between their love and protecting their children from him.  They could be happy and young again, with Rick and Mindy.

James could embrace his father and not feel that loving Phillip meant that he’d betrayed his grandfather.

Buzz was able to live in peace, caring for his family, and loving Lillian without being distracted by fruitless plots and schemes to bring Alan down.

Buzz’s attention on his family, instead of hating Alan, made it possible for him to focus on Daisy and make sure she would be able to go to college – taking Ashlee with her, and giving her a reason to want to come home– to a happy well-adjusted and loving James, of course.

The lack of threat from Alan made it possible for Jon to stay and allow Sarah to know her mother, stepfather, and new sibling, as well as ‘Uncle Shayne, Cousin Henry, Aunt Marina’.

Because Alan died, the Lewis boys weren’t spending their days looking over their shoulders, waiting for Alan to either wrestle away control of their company, or for him to pin a murder/embezzlement charge/public scandal on them.

His death meant that Emma wouldn’t grow up with her various sisters, brothers, nieces, nephews cousins waiting in fear for him to take them from their parents and turn them into his evil clones.

Alex was able to finally walk away for good, and not think about her ‘duty’ to be at her brother’s side in order to love him and defend him when the world turned on him yet again for his dastardly acts.  She had time to love someone else, and to be loved unconditionally in return.

I don’t know whose idea it was to give Springfield ‘peace’ by removing Alan from the equation, but his death made everything that followed feel real (or at least ‘real’ for the ‘reel’).

On Sept. 21st, when I watched my programs and didn’t find GL at the end, I wasn’t wondering what fresh hell would have taken place in our fictional Springfield on that day (though I’d have welcomed the opportunity to find out).  I wondered what it would have been like to open GL and think about where the first leg of JEVA’s romantic journey took them and THEIR son, Colin.  I wondered what it would have been like to watch Shayne and Remy as best friends and fathers.  Would Otalia/Blake and Frank  had dinners together or celebrate the holidays together with their daughters Francesca and Emma and son Rafe?  Would Billy have been the big romantic teddy bear he was meant to be and made sure that Vanessa knew, every day, how much he loved her?

If there is such a thing as  a ‘good death’, The Guiding Light had one.   Alan’s death allowed the writers to create a Springfield I’ve ALWAYS (get it)  wanted to see and one that lives on happily in my memory.

What about you?  Was it everything you wanted?

Dear Daytime Writers, Producers, Directors, and others…

This is not yet another blog about the ‘death of daytime’.  There are plenty of those – though I would never say that there could ever be ”too many’ if the goal of the ‘daytime death’ writers is to get you to see what a mockery you’re making of the genre.  The “daytime death” writers are writers who are hopeful that you’ll stop talking about the ‘know-nothing’ soap fans  you seem to believe deserve only 1-  ridicule for their opinions and  2- your ‘enlightened’ view of daytime.  They seem to hope that you’ll finally start  listening to us.  What they don’t realize is the fact that  you haven’t listened to us all along means that you probably won’t listen at this late stage of the game.  Why you aren’t listening is a mystery.   It’s a question I’ve asked both directly and indirectly in various blog  entries (not that you read them).  I think I finally understand why you’ve refused to give us what we  wanted, when you could have done so long before you hit the point of no return in the ratings.

It would mean that you would have to admit that you were wrong, that you didn’t know us better than we know ourselves.  Your choice was to embrace falling ratings as long as you were able to present your vision of daytime.   Like any bad ‘marriage’, things weren’t going to get  better as long as only on  ‘side’ was compromising.   We, the fans, were always willing to compromise and bend, until you broke us – see GH’s Scrubs’ PPD storyline, the Mob Storyline, and Liz and Jason as example..

We are now at a bitter end and as much as most of daytime often sucks, it will still be a bitter end  for many of us who love the genre, just not what it became.  It’s a tragedy that the shows you’re now offering will probably be better remembered than the glorious daytime history you ran away from. To TPTB specifically at The Guiding Light, the untimely death of the show was announced on April 1st. (so, someone up at the executive suites has a wicked sense of humor.  I would have accepted a real interest in saving daytime, instead) That means that there were probably around 3 to 4 weeks of the show filmed and in the can, ready to air,  That means that by May-June the writers should have been able to turn the show around rather than give fans a steady diet of doom and gloom that the show has become before it ends.  While I have nothing good to say about the Bold and Beautiful as it currently airs, what I can say that’s relatively positive is that BnB writers know how to ditch a ratings dropping storyline in a matter of weeks (See Brooke and Nick pairings 1, 2, 3 and nearly 4).  It’s unclear to me how you who run GL haven’t managed to make us feel good about what’s left of the show.

To all of you -powers that be, in general, I hope to appeal to you from a different perspective.  Daytime is dying, and it’s not completely your fault.  The market is changing, the population is changing, our options for entertainment have changed.  You didn’t necessarily ‘kill’ daytime.  You just assisted in its early death.   You refused to accept the changes and refused to  allow daytime to ‘grow up’.  Not appealing?  I didn’t think so, but here’s what might appeal to you:

Whether or not you’re thinking about it this way, what happens at the end of your shows means that you’re working on two fronts. 1 – You’re determining your legacy in daytime, and  2 – You’re auditioning for your future jobs.   The gods of prime time may or may not watch daytime.  I can only believe that they’ll be highly skeptical of hiring daytime writers, producers, and directors based on your current work.  Your legacy appears to be an unwillingness to do whatever you have to in order to right the ship… you prefer to continue forward on a dangerous course and sink the ship.  The gods of prime time might even pay attention to what fans have to say about how you handled the shows they loved for decades, understanding that those fans are unlikely to follow you to new projects.   Prime time shows don’t typically last beyond 5 – 6 seasons.  There is an eventual and much quicker ‘end’ for those shows than there is for daytime.  What will you do to prime time fans if you continue screwing over fans who’ve followed your daytime shows for decades?  What do you have to offer prime time overall? Where will YOUR vision of storytelling fit in with prime time? Which prime time shows:

1. … bring characters back from ‘the dead’ so many times that it’s not even worth holding a funeral, mourning a death,  or issuing a death certificate?  Yes, it’s one of those events that’s written off as a ‘typical daytime storyline’.  When the ‘back from the dead’ storylines made sense, fans could tolerate them.  Now?  They’re offered without thought about the impact they have on the current set of storylines.  They’re offered despite the fact that they make a mockery of storylines fans have seen ‘in full’… what character comes back from the dead after nearly a week in an OPEN casket, and having been kissed good-bye by relatives?  No funny smells?  Ya’ couldn’t tell you were kissing a wax dummy in a wig?  Great, BnB.  Not much better GL, DAYS, OLTL, GH, and all other shows on air.

2.  …frequently use misattributed paternity (or maternity) with almost every pregnancy?  The alternate problem pregnancy storylines include:  Man/woman sleeps with the wrong person – some villain who reveals her/himself too late and a pregnancy happens.  YAWN!  Where do you see that happening repeatedly on any prime time show? (All soaps)

3.  … use the ‘buried alive’ storyline to teach a character a lesson?  Any time you see the ‘buried alive’ storyline in prime time, the buried victim is just that, a VICTIM, not a busybody know-it-all who has to be taught a lesson.  The perpetrator is considered PSYCHOTIC since burying a person alive is considered a PSYCHOTIC behavior.  In daytime?  He (and the perp is more often a ‘he’ than ‘she’) is considered ‘misunderstood’.  He’s defended by the people who love him, and he never serves jail time.  I just don’ t see you being hired on CSI – any franchise, Law and Order – any franchise, Criminal Minds, etc, etc, etc…  Shame on you DAYS for using this storyline multiple times.

4.  … feature mothers and daughters (or fathers and sons for that matter) sharing the same love interests, both being in love with the same man and both carrying children for the same man?  Prime time tends to treat that sort of behavior as pathological, or at least pseudo-incestuous.  The BnB stands out as daytime’s most incestuous daytime show.

5.   …use rape to ‘redeem’ women thought of as ‘bad girls’?  Which prime time shows offer rape as romance?   The storylines you often tell aren’t about where couples ‘end up’ in prime time.  They’re about where couples ‘start out’.  There’s an assault (date rape or otherwise), the assault is investigated, a suspect is arrested, there is a trial.  The end.   For you in daytime?  Where do your rape survivor-rape perpetrator end up?  The woman realizes that the man who assaulted her isn’t all that bad (whether he drugs her, holds a gun on her, threatens the people she loves, etc).  He only raped her because he couldn’t control his passion for her.  In fact, it’s not even rape.  It was just a bad night… so you have them marry, and have children, and pretend the assault never happen. (All are guilty).

Were “rape-as-romance” storylines  around in the ‘glorious days’ of daytime?  Yes.

Were sexist, racist, orientationist storylines around as well?  Yes.

The difference between now and then?  We didn’t know better then, we do NOW, and you’re refusing to change.  Daytime must be a pretty insular world where nothing has to change, characters aren’t required to grow, and no one ever has to learn from a mistake, crimes are just about people having a little fun or “behaving badly” so what’s the sense in punishing anyone?

Good luck selling your staple storylines to prime time big wigs who want to know what you have to offer them.  Good luck trying to convince them that even if you haven’t been able to come up with an imaginative storyline in the (x) years you’ve worked in daytime, you can do just for them.  Good luck trying to convince them that you understand the current prime time audience when you can’t even figure out what to do to keep the relatively forgiving and loyal daytime audience happy.

Good Luck.

Most of all?  Good luck convincing them that you won’t screw their fans over in the end as so many of you are doing now with daytime audiences.  Daytime soaps once honored fans and their shows’ histories as they concluded.  It was important to let the fans know that the writers, directors, producers and other powers-that-be had done the best they could, and wanted fans to remember the show fondly now that it would no longer air.

Good luck.  You’ll need it.

Out on a limb with Otalia and The Guiding Light

As much as it pains me to say it, I may be done with Otalia.  I don’t know if that’s what the writers want and I’m just being a great big sucker for giving it to them.  Maybe I’m just tired of most of daytime and this current Otalia storyline is hitting my hot buttons.  Once Jessica Leccia returns from maternity leave and I see Otalia back onscreen together, it’s possible that all will be forgiven, and that I will be back to rooting for them.  For now?  Not so much.

GL writers seem to be completely unable to tell a compelling storyline.  Is  it the writers?  The executive producer blocking the way to good storyline telling?  The CBS Execs?  The way JessicaL’s Natalia was temporarily written out for maternity leave sucks – deeply sucks – sucks so bad that it makes ATWT’s writing out Carly Tenney to cover Maura West’s maternity leave look brilliant.  What does THAT tell you? Clearly, the problems with Natalia’s decision to abandon Olivia once she realizes she’s pregnant with Frank’s baby is indicative of the problems GL has been experiencing under Wheeler’s guidance.   First, who DIDN’T know that this would turn into another Susan/Ross/Carol (Friends) storyline?  Who DIDN’T know the writers would force an ‘eternal’ triangle and ‘forced family’ with Frank/Natalia/Olivia, rather than let Otalia just be happy together?  Second, this storyline takes me back to what I didn’t like about Natalia when she was first introduced.  She was introduced as a weak, whiny, mealy-mouthed character, desperate for love.  She stood in the shadows, afraid, insecure, making one bad decision after another that everyone around her had to pay for as she whined ‘poor me’.  Our Lady of Perpetual Pain.  Sheeeeee’s back!

I enjoyed the strength Natalia developed over time.  I loved that she’d started growing up and making decisions that improved her life and brought her happiness.   While I think all individuals should become the people they need to be BEFORE entering relationships, sometimes relationships can help change you for the better and that was the gift that Otalia gave one another.

Now?  Watching Olivia hit the road to track down the woman who dashed her hope for happiness and abandoned her just as Liv gained the strength to face the world made me despise Natalia, and the crap offered as entertainment to GL fans.   Listening to Liv cry, watching her scream out in vain for Natalia to come back made me realize that the writers used the Otalia relationship to weaken both characters.   Not only did the old Natalia return, she dragged Liv down to her level.

How lovely would it have been for Liv and Natalia to have been filmed BEFORE JL’s pregnancy to air while she was away?  How lovely it would have been for Liv and Nat to decide to leave town together, for a while.  Frank could be conflicted on what it means to now be a part of this family and want Natalia to take all the time she needed to clear her head.  He, Rafe,  and Liv could have occasionally made the trip to visit Natalia  – maybe with Rafe staying with Natalia to get use to the idea of his mother having another child and to help her and become reacquainted with her again.  Slowly, they would have accepted their lives as they are and become a modern American family.  Taping the scenes ahead of time would have meant no lost scenes for Otalia, or ending this madness with Frank on the outside/no on the inside/no on the outside/whatever. We could have finally had an end to the angry Rafe-monster… but the concept of lost time is one the GL writers and EP are all too familiar with.

More is the pity because now I say… BRING ON DORIS AND OLIVIA!  Who’s afraid of the big bad Wolfe?  Natalia should be!

Ratings and why CBS should reconsider

Despite the suckage that is GL these days, I STILL think the wrong thing to do is cancel this  show!

Courtesy of Soap Opera Network:

Ratings for the week June 22-26, 2009

HH
1. Y&R 3.5/11 (+.1/-.1)
2. B&B 2.3/7 (same/-.2)
3. DAYS 2.1/6 (+.1/+.2)
4. OLTL 1.8/6 (same/-.2) <—— ties low (Last time: 1.8/6 for June 15-19, 2009)
5. AMC 1.7/5 (-.1/-.2) <——– new low (Previous low: 1.8/6 for June 15-19, 2009)
5. GH 1.7/5 (-.1/-.4) <——— new low (Previous low: 1.8/5 for June 15-19, 2009)
7. ATWT 1.6/5 (same/-.3) <—— ties low (Last time: 1.6/5 for June 15-19, 2009)
8. GL 1.4/4 (+.1/-.1)

ABC soaps are falling like a ROCK! It’s not as if GL is doing so poorly in the ratings, in comparison.

FIRE WHEELER.

HIRE better writers. Several of the current writers would do just fine but new leadership is definitely needed and Ms. Wheeler just doesn’t do it for me.

Maybe there’s a way to get ATWT and GL on soapnet (long shot I know). Lifetime might not be interested in producing GL, but would the network be open to airing syndicated eps if CBS continued to produce and air the show?  Could there be a partnership that eased the financial burden for CBS?

Ride this thing out and let GL stick around with the rest of daytime.  I only say that because I’m still sure that ATWT and GL still have room for improvement, in the right hands.

Grading The Guiding Light

Today’s GL is giving fans EXACTLY what they’ve deserved all along, intergenerational story telling that makes you want to tune in for more:

  • The matriarchs of the Lewis/Spaulding-Raines clans getting together to pull off the ‘wedding of the century’.  Bill Lewis and Elizabeth “Raines” Spaulding are getting married in 21 days… We know, because almost everyone on screen repeats that there were only 21 days left.  The gathering of the matriarchs would have been PERFECT, if the following hadn’t happened:  Vanessa, Alexandra, Beth, and Lillian plan the wedding of the century in Peapack/Springfield’s equivalent of a 7/11.  I was distracted by the display of batteries  and other point of sale merchandise on the checkout counter behind the cafeteria seats they were sitting in.    What lousy product placement!  It only made me think of making sure I had enough fresh batteries to FF through most of what’s airing on daytime right now.  I also kept thinking about the beloved but bratty Vanessa Chamberlain and  the stuffy and sophisticated  Alex Spaulding who wouldn’t have been caught dead in a convenience store cafeteria.  Even still, I was so grateful to see the four women on screen again that I decided I didn’t care too much about the product placement.  A-
  • Loved the glee-some foursome barging  into Bill and Lizzie’s budget priced hotel room/suite  and interrupting the happy couple who had to push back the covers to see who’d invaded their love nest.  For the love of cheese, wouldn’t you just die if your grandmother and mother walked in while you were naked with your significant other?  It would be even worse if they treated you as if you were simply having a play date with your little  friend and told you to get dressed so they could get started on getting your wedding planned.  A-
  • Phillip/Alan/No-longer-adorable-James.  Oh Alan!  How could he have missed out on even the most BASIC tenet found in parenting books?   Love your children and praise them when they do well.  Ignore the misbehavior as much as you can.   Alan simply LOVES Phillip now that Phillip has engaged in the felonious act of bribing a judge.  He loves James even more, since James was indicted for running a Ponzi scheme.  Nothing like encouraging your children and grandchildren to be the best they can be!  B+
  • Billy threatening to make James ‘sleep with the fishes’if he does anything else to hurt Bill or Lizzie, and then having James run to Alan to tell him about the threat because he thinks it’s ‘funny’.   Those two scenes made me hope that there was enough time left for the writers to do one of two things:  Split Spaulding-Lewis, making them TWO companies as they should have been all along, and let the corporate wars begin.  I’ve missed the  corporate infighting and would love to see things end, if they must, with the Spauldings and Lewises continuing their friendly war.  If not?  My second option is to have Lizzie join the Spaulding Clan, along with Phillip, and have them make Alan and James powerless and miserable… for now at least.  B+
  • Billy… Billy… Billy… how lovely that he alone saw the overwhelmed look on Lizzie’s face and tried to have the glee-some foursome let Lizzie decide on how to plan her own wedding.  Billy has always been a bear (sometimes cuddly, sometimes grizzly).  It was so sweet.  The problem is that he should have known!  They shot him down so fast poor Billy’s head started spinning.  A (hell, it’s Billy!)
  • Did anyone know that Alex has always had the fantasy of running off to Vegas and getting married by an Elvis impersonator?  WOW!   Cyrus was a close to a Vegas wedding as Alex was going to get.  More importantly?  Forget point one… I can easily see Vegas Alex hanging out in a convenience store planning a wedding. B-
  • Billy and Vanessa?   ’nuff said!  If the writers give us the ‘beach wedding’  for the couple that Vanessa mentioned, along with Reva and Josh, Olivia and Natalia, Beth and Phillip, Buzz and Lillian, Blake and Frankie,  Mel and Rick… well, I promise to not refer to them as the writing team that sent GL to its early death… OR I’ll at least I’ll promise to TRY to not refer to them that way.  A
  • Alan shooting basketball with James?  Uh, SURE!  It’s as conceivable as my vegetarian sister downing a double cheeseburger.  So contrived… but i enjoyed it anyway.  B.
  • Phillip turning to Ed for medical help?  I’m actually shocked that the writers chose such an organic storyline to bring Ed back to town.  I don’t know how the rest of the storyline will play out.  B+
  • Reva and Marina growing closer.  I’m enjoying the developing friendship between Marina and Reva.  They’re mothers of young infants and have long respected one another – Marina as Shayne’s ex-girlfriend and now Marina is the mother of Shayne’s child.  I’ve been trying to figure out if the writers are setting Marina up to be the target of Reva’s ire when she finds out that her son and Marina have hidden the fact that Marina unknowningly adopted Shayne’s believed dead child.  I’ve gotta admit, I want to know more!  B+

By and large, there are still so many things wrong with GL that there’s not enough room to list them all.  The individual pieces work, but as a continuous thread there’s something faulty about the show. I’m torn between thinking that I won’t even miss this show when it’s gone, to still being angry that it’s over.   What about you?

GL: Have you seen this soap character?

Name:  Rafael Rivera (a.k.a. Rafe)

Parents: Natalia Rivera, Gus Aitorro-Spaulding (a.k.a. Nicky, a.k.a.  Nicholas Augustino)

Age:  Approximately 18

Romantic liaisons:  Daisy Cooper (a.k.a. Susan LeMay)

Occupation:  None, currently considering a career in law enforcement.

Other romantic or familial connections:  Rafe is currently uninvolved with anyone, romantically.  Unfortunately, his extended family is currently uninvolved with him.

This kid is a SPAULDING.  You’d never know it because none of the Spauldings bother to speak his name – he doesn’t get to help plan Lizzie’s wedding to Bill.  None of his extended family visited him while he was incarcerated.  There’s no evidence that anyone knows that he’s been released – Well, based on the eps I’ve been watching.  GL IS putting me to sleep these days.  There’s no evidence that anyone cares what’s happened to him, other than his mother, Olivia Spencer, and Frank Cooper.

In the time Rafe was incarcerated, Alan Spaulding has voiced his ‘concern’ for his granddaughter, Emma; has tried to control and manipulate his granddaughter, Lizzie, to stop her from becoming romantically involved with Bill Lewis;  he’s appealed to his grandson, James, to be a ‘family first’ sort of man in order to win favor with him (Alan’s true objective is to butter James up in the hopes of getting closer to Beth – James’ mother).

Not one word – that I’ve heard, has been uttered about Rafe’s care.  He still has diabetes and has not received the best possible care given his financial situation.  What sort of care is he getting now? Does anyone know because it was a plot point with Alan before.  It seems to not matter at all now.  Can’t we have a scene with Rafe running into ‘grandpa Alan’ at Cedar’s?

Given the fact that Alan has lost Beth for good, and was previously obsessed with Natalia,you would THINK that  Alan might try to move in and muscle Olivia out of Natalia’s life – what a battle that could have been!  Instead?  Rafe may as well be dead to Alan.  This glaring oversight is made WORSE by the fact that rather than incorporate the only diversity there has been in the Spaulding family lately, the writers have decided to rely on aimless plot devices that have Rafe deciding that he wants to be a police officer.

When you shoot the town’s District Attorney and then flee the country, joining  the Springfield PD’s finest is hardly a realistic occupational aspiration.  Why isn’t Alan trying to woo Rafe over to the Spaulding side of the family?  He likes to pit his children and grandchildren against one another.  Rafe was falling under the evil spell Alan was casting before he was incarcerated.  He was seduced by the fancy sports car, the big house, the pockets full of money… you name it!   Wouldn’t he have an even greater appetite for success, now?

Wouldn’t Rafe be the perfect foil for James?   I could even <gulp> try to tolerate Daisy if the dueling cousins ended up at odds in part because of her, and not just Alan’s manipulations.  That Daisy has moved on to yet another person who was ‘out to get him’ might cause Rafe a bit of conflict in deciding what kind of response he’d want to make.  He respects Frank and thinks of him as a father, of sorts, but may feel a loyalty to his own grandfather and want to make the lives of the Cooper family miserable.

Once Rafe tires of Alan’s manipulations, James could play ‘favored grandson’ and Rafe would end up on the receiving end of all of Alan’s material substitutions for love.  It would have been the recasting of Phillip  and Alan-Michael in a new generation.  Rafe could pull off the Phillip role,  James as Alan-Michael.  I could see  Rafe growing a conscience and eventually turning on Alan to protect Frank and  the Coopers.  That would be enough for Alan to switch his loyalties and support to James.  Rafe would have to turn to someone else in the family for help.  Phillip?  Beth?  Lizzie?  Bill Lewis?

I’m very disappointed that the writers continue to treat Rafe as the ‘disadvantaged youth’ from the wrong side of the tracks, unworthy of recognition by the Spauldings.   What a missed opportunity, but  then GL has been far too full of those, these past few years.